After an elite all-girls school in Nashville decided that it would admit and retain any boy that identifies as a girl, a group of school community members have started circulating a petition in hopes that the school will reconsider.
“We are writing to you today on behalf of a significant number of current parents, former parents, and alumnae … Adopting a policy that invites application to Harpeth Hall by anyone other than females is a critical change in the structure of the school, and by extension, has a major impact on our daughters,” the petitioners said.
Last week, the school adopted policies laid out in what it calls its Gender Diversity Philosophy.
“Harpeth Hall is a girls school. The school culture is unique and distinctly about girls, complete with the use of references to students as girls and young women and the collective use of female pronouns,” said that document, as reported at the time by The Tennessee Star last week. “Any student who identifies as a girl may apply to our school. Students who join and remain at Harpeth Hall do so because our mission as a school for girls resonates with them.”
But the Harpeth Hall community members who filed the petition do not favor the new policy.
They said in part:
Nashville presents many options, including schools spread across every social and educational dimension – who accept and develop children without consideration of sex/gender. But we chose Harpeth Hall intentionally because of its educational excellence, its many traditions, and, yes, its focus on girls. As much as many see issues of sex/gender as very complex, there is also a simple approach for our school: that Harpeth Hall selects and develops girls across a wide spectrum of backgrounds, but only girls, girls at birth who also identify as girls today. We feel strongly that this is ideal for our daughters and granddaughters, and will allow them to develop and grow, compete, and thrive without the distractions and complexities of boys, born or declared, in the classroom, and on the fields and stages.
“A significant number of families and donors in the Harpeth Hall community, including those copied on this message, feel that the administration and board at Harpeth Hall have failed to include us in the process of considering such major change,” the petitioners said. “Harpeth Hall’s reputation is damaged and we would all like to be part of the process of fixing it.”
As of press time late Monday, 422 people had signed the petition. The petition aims to collect 1000 signatures, initially.
Last week, a spokesperson at Harpeth Hall said she would return a comment request from The Star, but did not.
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